Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 652


Abraham F. Reeser, now living retired from active business life, at No. 217 South Fourth street, Reading, Pa., was born in Bern township, Berks Co.. Pa., July 26, 1835, son of Abraham S. and Annie (Feather) Reeser, and grandson of John Reeser.

The great?grandfather of Abraham F., also named John, emigrated from Bern, Switzerland, to Bern township, Berks county, at an early date, and there took up a large tract of land from William Penn. Here he settled and made many improvements, engaging in agricultural pursuits for the remainder of his life. Abraham S. Reeser, father of Abraham F., was educated in the schools of Bern township, and like his forefathers engaged in farming. He was independent in political matters. Mr. Reeser was a very generous man and gave liberally of his means to any church or charitable institution. He and his wife were the parents of these children: Sarah, Catherine, John, Abraham F. and William. The family were members of the Reformed Church.

Abraham F. Reeser was educated in the common schools of Bern township, but subsequently attended Irvin Academy and still later Lee's school. He then accepted a position with Rhoads & Son as clerk, in their grocery establishment, which was located in the old jail, Fifth street and Washington, the firm also operating a shoe and liquor store in connection with their grocery, as was the custom in those days. Mr. Reeser remained with Rhoads & Son for several years, when he went to Philadelphia, and there he engaged in the provision business until 1862, when he sold out to William H. Wanamaker, and returned to Reading. After engaging in the lightning rod business for three years, Mr. Reeser engaged in the store business in Reading, opening the Eagle Shoe Store on Penn street, which he conducted five years, and then sold out to engage in the real estate business, which he has continued to the present time. Mr. Reeser built the first house in West Reading, opened the first street there, and inaugurated the water system. He also purchased a plot of land and laid out Woodvale, owning at present there about 500 lots, as well as Woodvale Mansion, a summer hotel and one of the finest health resorts in this section of Pennsylvania. He built the Black Bear road, known as the East Reading Railroad, the first mile of the Gravity Railroad, and all the drives on Neversink Mountain. He has always been active in any movement for the upbuilding of his locality, especially in the way of real estate improvements, erecting many buildings in Reading proper, West Reading and Woodvale (or what is now Mt. Penn).

In politics Mr. Reeser is a Republican, and he served as assessor three years. He is a member of the Reformed Church. Fraternally he belongs to St. John's Lodge No. 435, F. & A. M.

On the maternal side Mr. Reeser is of Prussian and French Huguenot stock. Peter Feather, his grandfather, was born in Berks county, and he owned and operated the "American House" in Reading. He was very public spirited and progressive. His wife was a Miss Levan.


p. 1462


Charles C. Reeser, of Bernville, whose baking establishment is situated in Penn township near the borough line of Bernville, was born in Maidencreek township, Berks county, Oct. 27, 1879, son of Benneville and Mary (DeTurck) Reeser, and grandson of William Reeser.

Benneville Reeser, who was born in 1841, died in Maidencreek township in 1891, after a life spent in agricultural pursuits. He married Mary DeTurck, daughter of Charles DeTurck, of Richmond township, by whom he had these children: Hettie m. David Schroeder, of Reading; James D. is the proprietor of the "Hotel Reeser"; Mary died unmarried, in 1907; Charles C.; Nora m. Albert Gibson, of Reading; Katie, who died in 1907, m. Orlando Moll; and John died aged ten years.

Charles C. Reeser attended the public schools of Molltown, and for a short time was engaged in farm work, but at the age of fifteen years went in with his brother James D. to learn the trade of baker, and continued in the latter's employ until 1901, when he purchased the business, known as the Bernville Bakery, from his brother and has since conducted it successfully. His trade demands the services of three employes and he runs two wagons through Leinbachs, Centreport, Strausstown and the surrounding country, supplying the best trade with bread, cakes and pretzels.

Mr. Reeser was married in 1900 to Miss Mary Stamm, daughter of Frank and Emma (Geiss) Stamm, well-known people of Bernville. To Mr. and Mrs. Reeser there have been born two children, Lester and Earl.


p. 1426


Eugene S. Reeser, portrait painter and landscape artist of Reading, Pa., whose studio and art store are located at No. 415 Schuylkill avenue, was born Jan. 23, 1862, in Leesport, Pa., son of William P. and Catherine (Keener) Reeser.

Mr. Reeser received his elementary education in the public schools of Leesport, and when a mere boy evidenced his artistic taste to a marked degree. At the early age of six years he finished pictures, which he still has. He has made the development of his talent his life work, and his productions are well liked and are fine specimens of art. Mr. Reeser's specialty is portrait work, and in this connection he combines the enlargement of photographs, working in oil, crayon, Indian ink, and watercolor. In his studio may be seen three or four hundred fine art specimens, among his masterpieces being "Washington in Prayer," "Feeding the Doves," "A Great Feeding," etc. Mr. Reeser's work finds a ready market in the surrounding country, and especially is his work in demand in the Southern states.

On June 14, 1886, Mr. Reeser was married to Miss Anna S. Mull, and they reside at No. 415 Schuylkill avenue, Reading. They are members of St. Mark's Reformed Church. Mr. Reeser is independent in politics, voting for the man best fitted for the office.


p. 886


Reeser. The Reeser family is an old one in Berks county. There are several different branches, and the name is variously spelled, Reeser and Riesser being the most common forms. As early as 1759 John Reeser was a tax-payer in Maiden-creek township. In that year he paid a tax of 26, and he was one of the largest landowners in that district. He was the ancestor of William D. Reeser of the Yellow House. In 1765 John Reeser bought land from Samuel Lightfood, located in Maiden-creek township. Lightfood was a Quaker. In 1768 John Reeser bought land from James Hutton, and in 1769 from Thomas Lee, both Lee and Hutton being Quakers of Maiden-creek township, which was largely settled by Friends. In 1785 Daniel Reeser bought land in Maiden-creek for which he paid L100 of gold and silver money. In 1805 Henry Reeser bought land and located in Maiden-creek township. In 1809 Jacob Reeser bought land from Henry Reeser, of Maiden-creek township. This Jacob was probably the great-grandfather of William D. Reeser, of Amity township.

Jacob Reeser was a farmer in Maiden-creek township and owned one of the farms on which the Reading Cement Company is now located, at Molltown. He is buried at St. Peter's Reformed Church. His children were: Jacob, who lived in Maiden-creek township, near Molltown; William, who lived on an adjoining farm; Abraham, who lived in Ontelaunee township; Isaac; Katie, and Elizabeth.

Isaac Reeser was a native of Maiden-creek township, born Feb. 6, 1809, and died at Fleetwood, where he is buried, in February, 1878, when aged sixty-eight years. He was a farmer and lived on his property the greater part of his life. He belonged to the Reformed Church. His wife was Lydia Hoch, daughter of David and ----- (Gerst) Hoch, born March 28, 1808, died in Jan., 1886, in her seventy-eighth year. They had these children: Hannah, deceased, who married Benneville Hoch, of Fleetwood; Jacob H., of Reading; Caroline, deceased, who married Daniel Everhart, now of Colebrookdale township; Lydia, deceased, who married Monroe Eby, of Reading; Jarius H.; Amanda, married to James Koch, of Reading; and Simarias of Reading.

Jarius H. Reeser, a prosperous farmer in Oley township, was born in Maiden-creek township, Feb. 17, 1847. He was reared upon the farm, and when seventeen learned the painter's trade, which he followed in Oley and Richmond townships. In 1868 he began farming in Earl township, where he lived four years, and then came to Oley township, settling on the Griesemer farm near Griesemer's mill. There he continued farming for five years more, and then moved back to Earl township and farmed for two years. Back he went to Oley and farmed the Solomon DeTurk farm near the Oley Churches. In 1887 he moved to the Col. Weaver farm, in Amity township, and there lived for seven years, in 1894 purchasing the Daniel Guldin farm, located in Oley township near the Yellow House. This fine farm consists of thirty-one acres, which he has greatly improved, making it into a very fine piece of property. He also owns a good farm of 127 acres in Amity township, near Yellow House, which he has rented. It has excellent spring water and is well situated.

Mr. Reeser is a Democrat, and has taken an active part in politics. From 1891 to 1893 he was county commissioner. During his administration a number of bridges were built, among them being the Schuylkill avenue and Cross Keys. The court-house was also improved. He was supervisor of Oley for two years, and has always done what he believed to be his duty. He and his family are members of the Oley Reformed Church.

In 1869 Mr. Reeser was married to Barbara Drumheller, a daughter of the late David and Sarah (Lease) Drumheller, of Oley township, and they had children as follows. Jacob D., a farmer of Oley township, married Amelia Bachman, and they have five children, Hilma Viola, Amy, J. Warren and Paul; William D. and Sallie D. are unmarried and at home.

William D. Reeser, a prominent citizen of Berks county, residing at Yellow House, in Amity township, was born in Oley township Sept. 17, 1871. He was reared to farm life and was educated in the public schools of his district and in the Amityville Seminary. At the age of twenty years he became a clerk in the Yellow House creamery and held the position a year, and in 1892 became clerk in the county commissioner's office, where he proved so useful that he was retained there for nine years. Later he served as docket clerk in the county controller's office for two years under the administration of John F. Ancona. During most of the years Mr. Reeser served the county in clerical capacities he conducted the general store at Yellow House. He embarked in this mercantile venture in 1895, and has since continued in it, meeting the marked success.

Mr. Reeser has been an active Democrat and has been the leader in lower Berks county since 1895. He has served his township of Amity as delegate to county conventions during those years eight times. He was State delegate three times, and was State delegate when William H. Berry was nominated for State treasurer; Mr. Berry was subsequently elected, being the first Democratic State treasurer in a quarter of a century. Fraternally Mr. Reeser is a charter member of Wohlink Tribe, No. 179, Improved Order of Red Men, of Yellow House; of Oley Lodge, No. 218, I. O. O. F., of Reading, and of Mt. Penn Castle, No. 52, K. G. E., of Reading. He is a member of the Oley Reformed Church, of which he is a deacon and the secretary of the consistory, having held the latter office since 1903. He was active in Sunday school work in earlier life.

On June 6, 1895, Mr. Reeser was married to Mary M. Body, a daughter of Augustus G. Body, of Shillington, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Reeser is a prosperous merchant, carrying a full line of general merchandise, and enjoys the patronage of a large trade gathered from the surrounding district, Yellow House being in the center of a rich and populous community. Since 1895 he has been assistant postmaster at Yellow House. In addition to his other interests Mr. Reeser was for three years a director of the Sinking Spring Fire Insurance Company, an old-established concern of Berks county.


p. 1371


Jacob H. Reeser, a prominent farmer in Bern township, where he has a well improved and well-stocked farm of 135 acres, was born in that township, in August. 1841, on the old Reeser farm. Philip Reeser, great-grandfather of Jacob H., was a farmer and prominent citizen in Bern township. He became very wealthy, and at his death left a large estate to be divided. His will is on record, and was made Aug. 23, 1786. His death occurred in 1789. To him and his wife Elizabeth were born the following children: Jacob; Philip Jr.; Anna Elizabeth, who married John Winter; Elizabeth, who married Christian Bossler; Daniel and John, who were bequested with bonds; Catherine; Mary; and William.

John Reeser, son of Philip and Elizabeth, was a successful farmer in Centre township, where he owned 100 acres of fertile land. In politics he was a Democrat, and in religion a member of the Reformed Church. His children, two sons and two daughters, were: Jacob, Catherine, Betsy and John (2).

John Reeser (2), son of John, lived the greater part of his life in Centre township, where he was born. As a young man he learned the shoemaker's trade, and worked at it some years, then taking up farming. He became the owner of 224 acres of land. In political faith he was a Democrat, and was frequently called upon to serve as a delegate to county conventions. He was a member of Belleman's Church (Reformed). He married Hannah Himmelberger. and they had twelve children, as follows: Elizabeth, John, Catharine and William, all deceased; Jacob H.; Mary, deceased; Sarah, who lives with her brother, Daniel H.; Hettie, deceased; Daniel H.; Caroline, who married James D. Weikel, a machinist at Reading; Susan, who married Jacob Kramer, a merchant at West Leesport; and Amelia. deceased. John Reeser (2), the father, died Jan. 9. 1869.


p. 1684


James D. Reeser, who is successfully conducting the "Hotel Reeser," at Bernville, Pa., was born in Maiden-creek township, June 1, 1872, son of Benneville and Mary (DeTurk) Reeser.

William Reeser, his grandfather, lived in Maiden-creek township, where he owned about 300 acres of valuable land, and where his death occurred. He married a Miss Kistler, and they had children as follows: John, living in the West; Sarah, m. to a Mr. Willits; Kate, m. to a Mr. Ebling; Benneville; Jacob, who died in San Francisco, California; William. who died in Ohio; and James. who died in Maiden-creek township. Benneville Reeser was born in 1841, and died in 1891. He was buried in Becker's churchyard, Richmond township. He had spent his life in agricultural pursuits in Maiden-creek township. Mr. Reeser married. Mary DeTurk. daughter of Charles DeTurk, of Richmond township, and they had these children: Hettie m. David Schroeder, of Reading; James D.; Mary died, unmarried, in 1907; Charles is a baker in Penn township; Nora m. Albert Gibson, of Reading; Katie m. Orlando Moll, and died in 1907; John died aged ten years.

James D. Reeser attended the public schools of Richmond and Maiden-creek townships, and in his youth learned the baking business, which he followed for a period of fifteen years, conducting the Bernville Bakery very successfully for eight years. This, however, he sold to his brother, Charles, and purchased his present hotel property, then an old log building on the Penn township line, borough of Bernville. In 1901 he replaced the old building with a fine brick structure, three stories high, 50x50 feet in dimensions, with twenty-nine rooms. He has fine grounds and all sorts of amusement facilities, and his place is very popular and well patronized. In addition to his hotel property, Mr. Reeser owns a bakery building, 12x25 feet, as well as a farm of forty-five acres, the old Kerchner property. Mr. Reeser is a member of St. John's Reformed Church of North Heidelberg township. He is treasurer of Penn township, served as school director one term, and has held various other offices of public trust. He is treasurer of the Bernville Baseball Club, and is fraternally connected with Bernville Lodge, No. 122, I. 0. 0. F., Camp No. 99. P. 0. S. of A.. Wernersville, and Bernville Commandery, of which he is treasurer. His friends are legion, and he is known throughout this section of the county as a man whose word is as good as his bond, and upon whom confidence can be placed.

On July 14. 1894, Mr. Reeser married Eva Gerhart, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Lamm) Gerhart, and to this union have been born two children: W. Raymond and Elizabeth.


p. 1136


Jerome Pearson Reeser, dealer in coal, lumber and grain at Sinking Spring, was born at the Reeser Mill, near West Leesport, Bern township, June 19, 1869, son of Cyrus and Catharine (Shalter) Reeser. When two years old his parents moved to Sinking Spring, and he received his education in the local schools, at the West Chester Normal school, and at Stoner's Business College in Reading. In 1891 he associated with Samuel B. Keppel as a partner, in carrying on the coal, lumber, grain, flour and feed business, on premises adjoining the railroad station at Sinking Spring, and he continued as a partner until 1900, when he purchased the interest of Mr. Keppel in the business, and he has been carrying it on in a successful manner to the present time.

Mr. Reeser served as a township auditor for a term of three years; and he has officiated as treasurer of the Reformed Church at Sinking Spring since 1902. He is public-spirited, and believes in encouraging industrial enterprises, and co-operated with other enterprising citizens in the establishment of the Sinking Spring Foundry Company, in 1902, and held an interest in the plant for several years.

Mr. Reeser married Jennie Van Reed, daughter of Joshua Van Reed, a farmer of Lower Heidelberg, along the Cacoosing creek, and they have two sons, Harvey and Herbert. Joshua Van Reed married Elizabeth Cochran, of Philadelphia, and by her had these children: Joshua (m. to Jennie Schrack ), Jacob, James, Jennie, Ella and one who died young.

Cyrus Reeser was a native of Bern township, near West Leesport, where he carried on the coal, lumber and grain business for many years until 1871, when he purchased the hotel stand along the railroad adjoining the Sinking Spring station, and removed to that place. He married Catharine Shalter, daughter of Benjamin Shalter, a farmer in the northern section of Alsace township, and they had four children: Jerome Pearson, George, Cora (m. to Thomas Huyett) and one who died in infancy.

Daniel Reeser, father of Cyrus, was a farmer of Bern township. He married Catharine Stoudt, and by her had two sons: William, m. to Elizabeth Rickenbach; and Cyrus.

Abraham Reeser was the father of Daniel and great-grandfather of Jerome Pearson Reeser.


p 876


Levi Reeser, who is now living retired at his home in Bern township, Berks county, was born in the western end of West Leesport, Pa., Aug. 15, 1832. son of Samuel and Catherine (Phillips) Reeser.

Philip Reeser, the progenitor of this family in America, was a native of Switzerland, and on coming to this country settled in Bern township, Berks Co., Pa., where he acquired much property and left a large estate. His will, which is on record, was made Aug. 23, 1786, and was probated June 4. 1798. He and his wife Elizabeth, who survived him, had nine children John; Philip, Jr. Anna Elizabeth, who married John Winter; Elizabeth, who married Christian BossIer; Daniel; John; Catherine; Mary and William.

Philip Reeser, Jr., son of Philip, came with his father to the United States and spent all the rest of his life in Bern township where he died. He married Amelia Reimert, and they had these children: Samuel; John, who lived in Centre township (he lost his five children in the terrible typhoid fever epidemic of 1858); Mary Ann, and Caroline.

The ancestor Philip erected Reeser's Mill in Bern township, which for many years was conducted by a descendant, Abraham Reeser, and which is now the property of John McGray. Philip Reeser, Jr., owned the land on which West Leesport borough is built, and he built the old stone house at the extreme western end on the north side which was his dwelling. His farm, which consisted of 140 acres, now belongs to his grandson, Levi.

Samuel Reeser, father of Levi, born Sept. 19, 1788, died May 29, 1869, and is buried at Epler's Church of which he was a Reformed member. He was a farmer by occupation and owned the old homestead, on which he resided all of his life. Mr. Reeser was married (first) to Rachel Neischwender, ( second) to Catherine Phillips, and (third) to Magdalena Phillips, his second and third wives being sisters, and daughters of John Phillips. By his first wife Mr. Reeser had a daughter, Rachel, who became the wife of Thomas Eck. To his second marriage were born five children: William, of West Leesport: Philip, of Illinois: Leah, who married Elias Spatz; Samuel who died at Molltown, and Levi. There were six daughters born to the last marriage, three of whom died young, the others being Sarah, who married Joseph Mosser; Esther, who married Sampson Hoyer and Lovina, who married Frederick Roth.

Levi Reeser was reared to agricultural pursuits and during the greater part of his active life engaged in farming at the old family home. He also for nine years operated a ferry-boat on the Schuylkill canal. In 1904 he came into possession of a sixty-four-acre tract situated at the present site of West Leesport borough, on which is standing the old stone house mentioned before. Mr. Reeser is a member of Epler's Reformed Church, where he has been a deacon and elder.

On Oct. 17, 1855, Mr. Reeser was married to Sarah Hafer, born Dec. 8, 1837, died Feb. 7, 1904, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Rieser) Hafer. Nine children were born to this union: Levi M., born Feb. 9, 1857, married Helen Loose; Sara C., born Oct. 25, 1858, married James Baer; Amelia A., born Feb. 3, 1863, married Milton Nunnermacher; Kate E., born Sept. 22, 1865. married Albert Roth; one son died in infancy; Mahlon E., born Jan 22. 1869, died Oct. 3,1869; James R., born June 24,1871, married Emma Churchoff ; Rosie A., born Jan. 2,1879, married Penrose Belleman; and Samuel, born Feb. 10, 1881, married Mary Albright.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:56:47 EDT

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